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New Era! NGX Welcomes Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc With Closing Gong Ceremony

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The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, on Tuesday, July 13, marked the listing of Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc’s (“GTCO Plc”) shares with a Closing Gong Ceremony on the main floor of the exchange.

This follows the completion of all regulatory requirements for the corporate reorganization of the leading financial institution into a holding company structure and the listing of GTCO Plc, on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited and the London Stock Exchange, replacing Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.

Guaranty Trust was first listed on the Nigerian Exchange in 1997, winning the “Nigerian Stock Exchange President’s Merit Award” within months of its listing.

In 2007, it became the first Nigerian bank to list on London Stock Exchange, the first to dual list on an international exchange, and the first Nigerian company to raise international capital using listed Global Depositary Receipts. Since then, Guaranty Trust has embarked on a decade of unparalleled growth with total assets and shareholders’ funds closing at ₦4.993trillion and ₦837.2billion respectively, at the end of Q1, 2021.

As part of its long-term growth strategy, Guaranty Trust has now adopted a holding company structure wherein GTCO Plc will operate as the parent company of all Guaranty Trust banking businesses across Africa and the United Kingdom as well as other non-banking businesses which will be established following the transition.

Segun Agbaje, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust, commented: “These are very exciting times for us. Following our transition, we can now compete more effectively with non-banks in this new and evolving competitive landscape, whilst creating more value for customers and shareholders than we ever could as a bank.

Although we are delighted to have completed this rigorous transition process, we know that the hard work has just begun. We are in the final phase of building a new payments business that will deepen and extend digital financial services across Africa. We also believe that we are in a better position to drive an Asset Management business and a Pension Fund business, given our strong retail base and digital-first approach to financial services, which we have honed over the past decade.”

Founded in 1990, Guaranty Trust has maintained an unbroken streak of year-on-year growth and a consistent lead in driving the digitization of financial services in Africa. It is the best managed financial institution in Nigeria, leading the industry across key financial indices, such as Return on Equity (ROAE of 26.0% in Q1 2021), Return on Assets (ROAA of 4.3% in Q1 2021), and Cost to Income ratio (42.6% in Q1 2021).

BUSINESS

Firstbank Expands Its International Money Transfer Network, Reinforces Its Commitment To Customer Service

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In furtherance of the need to expand diaspora remittance inflow into the country, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has increased its network of International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs), targeted at easing the accessibility of its customers to receive money from close to 100 countries across the world in a safe and secured manner.

With over 750 branches across the country, customers can receive money from the nearest FirstBank branch closest to them.

Over the years, FirstBank has been in partnership with Western Union, MoneyGram, Ria, Transfast, and WorldRemit. The bank is also in partnership with other IMTOs which include Wari, Smallworld, Sendwave, Flutherwave, Funtech, Thunes, and Venture Garden Group to promote remittance inflow into the country, thereby putting Nigerians and residents at an advantage in receiving money from their families, friends and loved ones across the world. 

Beneficiaries can receive remittance in US dollars in any of our over 750 branches spread across the country. Customers without an existing domiciliary account can have a dollar account automatically created for their remittances. You can also receive inflow directly into your account through Western Union.

In addition, FirstBank has launched its wholly-owned remittance platform named First Global Transfer product to promote the international transfer of funds across its subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa. These subsidiaries include FBNBank DRC, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank Sierra-Leone, FBNBank Senegal.

Reiterating the Bank’s resolve in promoting diaspora remittances, regardless of where one is across the globe, the Deputy Managing Director, Mr Gbenga Shobo said “at FirstBank, expanding our network of International Money Transfer Operators is in recognition of the significant roles diaspora remittances play in driving economic growth such as helping recipients meet basic needs, fund cash and non-cash investments, finance education, foster new businesses, and debt servicing.

We are excited about these partnerships, as it is essential to ensure our customers are at an advantage to receive money from their loved ones and business associates, anywhere they are, across the world.”

FirstBank pioneered international funds transfer and remittances over 25 years ago and has been at the forefront of promoting cross-border payments in the country, having started the journey with Western Union Money Transfer. The Bank’s wealth of experience and operation in over 750 locations nationwide gives it the edge in the market. 

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Sekibo Urges Govt, Stakeholders To Prioritize SMEs, Youth Entrepreneurship

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Bridging the gap to attain sustainable solutions to economic recovery will be the most impactful route to drive lasting and meaningful growth; for this to be achieved, the creation of opportunities, conscious inclusion of Small and Medium Enterprises, and youth entrepreneurship are crucial.

MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo gave this submission on the sidelines of the 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) with a theme: “Economic Recovery, Inclusion & Transformation: The Role of Banking and Finance.”

According to him, one of the key areas where government, financial institutions, and other stakeholders can move this nation from poverty to prosperity is through the conscious creation of a viable environment for small businesses and young entrepreneurs to thrive because they are the backbone of local economies around the world – they happen to be the biggest employers, job creators and contributors of the national gross domestic products.

“We cannot talk about moving from poverty to prosperity without taking SMEs very seriously in this country.

“We must support the SMEs sector reform through providing infrastructure, providing loans to farmers, and ensuring interest rate loans is a single digit,” he affirmed.

Sekibo who was represented at the conference by the Regional Head Abuja-1, Daniel Oniko, stated that giving SMEs and young entrepreneurs leverage to contribute immensely to the development of their host community through engaging the youths and unemployed individuals will bring about and facilitate economic recovery.

He emphasized that the role of SMEs in creating and sustaining national development in relation to job creation has been considered a key tool in modern-day poverty alleviation, economic emancipation, and total well-being. The MD, however, disclosed, “One of Heritage Bank’s major cardinal points as a bank is supporting micro, small and medium scale businesses and our strong desire to see young men and women succeed in any area of their business.

This will help the society and economy to grow, thereby moving the nation from poverty to prosperity, he added.

He noted that Heritage Bank was taking the lead through various initiatives such as its youth entrepreneurship development programmes which were aimed at increasing the contributions of the MSME segment to the economy. He further explained that the entrepreneur schemes of the bank in the support for business had always focused on dependable job-creating sectors such as the agricultural value chain: fish farming, poultry, snail farming, etc., cottage industry, mining and solid minerals, creative industry: tourism, arts and crafts, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Speaking earlier, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said emerging challenges require that the banking and finance sector takes on more transformative projects such as housing and renewable energy.

The VP acknowledged that the banking and finance sector has over the years played significant roles in the nation’s economic development. According to the Vice President, “it is time for the sector to take on some of the transformative big-ticket items that would fundamentally transform our economy. Such matters include consumer finance but housing finance. “

In his goodwill message, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele stated that the banking sector remained well-positioned to support the recovery efforts of the monetary and fiscal authorities. “Clearly, Nigeria’s banks have become not only strong and resilient but have also carved a good niche in the world to consolidate on the growth and resilience of the banks in the last decades”, he added.

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UBA’s Half-Year Profit Grows By 33% to N76.2 Billion

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Africa’s leading financial institution, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has announced its audited half-year financial results for the half-year ended June 30, 2021, showing impressive growth across all major income lines and performance indicators.

The pan African financial institution delivered a 33.4 percent appreciation in its profit before tax which rose to N76.2 billion as of June 2021, up from the N57.1 billion recorded in the same period of 2020. This translated to an annualized Return on Average Equity (RoAE) of 17.5 percent as against 14.4 percent a year earlier. This feat was recorded despite the challenging business and economic environment that emerged from the slow pace of activities following the global lockdown occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The results submitted to the Nigerian Exchange Limited showed that the group’s profit after tax stood at N60.6 billion, representing a significant rise by 36.3 percent, compared with the N44.4 billion recorded in the half-year of 2020.

Similarly, gross earnings grew to N316 billion, which was a five percent increase, from the N300.6 billion recorded as of June 2020.

According to the results, at June 30, 2021, the group’s total assets crossed the N8 trillion mark as it increased to N8.3 trillion, up from N7.7 trillion at the end of the 2020 financial year. Its customer deposit also crossed the N6 trillion mark, growing by 7.4 percent to N6.1 trillion in the period under review, compared with N5.7 trillion as of December 2020.

Furthermore, the group’s Shareholders’ Funds remained robust at N752.5 billion, up from N724.1 billion in December 2020, reflecting its strong capacity for internal capital generation.

In line with the bank’s culture of paying both interim and final cash dividends, the Board of Directors of UBA declared an interim dividend of 20 kobo per share for every ordinary share of 50 kobo each, held by its shareholders.

Commenting on the results, UBA’s Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, expressed delight over the bank’s performance in the first half of the year.

He added: “This has been a strong first half for us, as global economic recovery exceeded expectations, creating a positive rub-off on consumer and corporate confidence, savings, and investment activities.
“We saw this positively impact our business, as we continued to leverage our key strategic levers – People, Process and Technology, and our Customer-first philosophy, to revolutionize customer experience at UBA.”

He added that the bank’s investment in the Rest of Africa (excluding Nigeria) continues to yield good results for the group.

Uzoka added: “The benefits of pan-African business diversification accruing to the Group is once again evident, with gross earnings and interest income growth of 5.1 percent and 8.3 percent respectively, despite the low yield environment in our largest market, Nigeria.

“We are making remarkable progress on our strategy that is progressively positioning UBA as the bank of choice on the continent, driven by our emphasis on tech-led innovation and best customer experience.”

Continuing, the GMD pointed out that the bank recognizes the far-reaching effects of the pandemic on businesses globally, and remains focused on its promise to always provide our customers with the best banking experiences possible.

“Our first half 2021 (H1 2021) performance reflects our progressive efforts in building on the strong momentum that we started the year with. As a purpose-driven organization, we remain resolute in our drive for sustained growth in customer acquisition, transaction volumes, and balance sheet, as we consolidate our ‘Africa’s Global Bank’ market position in the years ahead, uplifting livelihoods across the continent,” Uzoka explained.

UBA’s Group Chief Financial Officer (GCFO), Ugo Nwaghodoh, on his part, noted that the bank’s goal was to achieve a marked improvement in earnings quality whilst maintaining positive operating leverage as well as top-notch asset quality.

“The Group recorded RoAE of 17.5 percent (from 15.1% in 2020H1) and a Net-Interest-Margin of 5.8 percent (from 5.4% in H12020) as we played the volatile yield environment diligently for the best return on our interest-earning assets.

“Capital position remained strong, with capital adequacy and liquidity ratios of 23.9 percent (22.4% in 2020H1) and 58.3 percent (58.2% in 2020H1) respectively. This is robust enough to support our growth ambitions,” he said.

The GCFO pointed out that even while the operating environment remains largely uncertain and volatile, despite marked improvement from Covid-19 induced macroeconomic stress, UBA will continue to build resilience through its geographically diversified business model to support headline earnings growth for the Group.

“We remain committed to our 18 percent and 15 percent respective RoAE and deposit growth guidance for FY 2021, as we continue to invest in growth opportunities across our geographies of operation, whilst managing capital and balance sheet prudently,” Nwaghodoh stated.

UBA offers banking services to more than twenty-five million customers, across over 1,000 business offices and customer touchpoints, in 20 African countries.

With a presence in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail; commercial and corporate banking; innovative cross-border payments and remittances; trade finance, and ancillary banking services.

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